I Seem to Live. The New York Diaries, 1950–2011 is Jonas Mekas’s key literary work. The first volume of this magnum opus, covering the period from 1950-69, appears posthumously one year after his death. It stands on an equal footing with his cinematic oeuvre, which he initially developed together with his brother Adolfas after their arrival in New York. In 1954, the two brothers founded Film Culturemagazine, and in 1958 Jonas began writing a weekly column for The Village Voice. It was in this period that his writing, films, and unflagging commitment to art began to establish him as a pioneer of American avant-garde cinema and the barometer of the New York art scene.
Jonas Mekas’s New York diary illuminates not just the inner life of an incredible artist and cultural impresario, the key moments and players in the development of his pioneering diaristic aesthetic, but it also documents the evolution of the city’s explosive art scene. Jonas witnessed artists such as Andy Warhol, George Maciunas, Yoko Ono, Michael Snow, and so many others experimenting with new forms of art making- what we now take for granted as interdisciplinary- was just then only coming into view.